Categories
News

FIRST Robotics and Giving Back

None of us are getting any younger. And to see the type of people, teams, companies and world in which we want to live today and in the future, we have to give back to communities and people in a way that positively influences generations after us. No matter how big or small, taking the time to help others matters.

Trility Consulting is proud to sponsor Des Moines, Iowa area Team 4646 ASAP as they head to Grand Forks, North Dakota this week to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition! FIRST Robotics teams this year are building robots to compete with this year’s challenge DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE presented by The Boeing Company.

Teams that choose to compete in the FIRST competitions are given a six-week time limit to design, build, and program industrial size robots to play a field game against other teams. In addition to the building the robot, teams raise funds, design a team brand, develop engineering, business, and marketing skills working with volunteer mentors. In essence, young folks are learning how to create a working product, make time-based decisions and build an operational model which will serve them well as they figure out how to make their mark on this world through the years.

And Trility Consulting is additionally working with other Robotics teams in the area as well. Eric Gerling, Trility’s CTO, actively volunteers with the West Central Valley High School Robotics Team each year. Known as The Breakfast Club, the WCV Robotics Team competes in the FIRST Tech Challenge and completed their most recent season last December 2018.

While we’re all busy pursuing our careers, working to make money and improve the lives of ourselves and our families, don’t forget to take the time to think about the people that come after us. It takes much less effort than you imagine to be an encouraging teammate, coach, teacher or friend. And while the time investment may seem big to you, the return on investment in the life of one young person could very easily be a lifetime of success and opportunity.

Categories
Leadership

Growth Requires a Plan

Achieving growth, change, and success without a plan is a blessing. And these blessings lead many to believe they don’t need a plan. Said folks may even believe they are smarter than most and didn’t have a plan in the first place.

For the rest of us, achieving growth, change, and success over and over again in a predictable, repeatable manner that consumers and shareholders can bank on requires a plan.

In our personal lives, we refer to this structure as goals and plans. In companies, we tend to state things in the form of strategic objectives and roadmaps.

Plans and Goals Evolve with Age, Wisdom

When we ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, they often (understandably) have no idea, let alone what it will take to get there. Yet, they are exploring and dreaming – limited only by their imagination (Figure 1 below).

When we ask young adults how far they want to go in the sport of their choice. They often state, “We want to win it all.” And they go on the journey with an idea of a plan (the season schedule), objectives (win all of the time), and a goal (be the best). They may not understand everything necessary to get there, but they are on the road to understanding. Experience helps. These young adults are only limited by their will to win and dedication to the journey.

We ask professionals in organizations about their personal and professional goals and the answers are often crystallized into promotions, higher salary, more responsibility, bonuses, achieving professional certifications, and recognition. These folks often understand goals are composed of one or more objectives that require tasks to achieve them and are limited only by time, opportunity, and a plan. Experience breeds wisdom.

A Strategic Roadmap that Spans Organizations and People

Now consider companies themselves. Do they have strategic objectives for the coming year or years? Are there roadmaps spanning the organization that help the company achieve those objectives?

If there are strategic objectives, does everyone in the company know what they are? Should they? And if there are roadmaps, do they map to fulfilling the corporate objectives? Do all of the team members know how their projects relate to the roadmap which leads to achieving the strategic objectives?

Not having strategic objectives and a roadmap is one class of problem.

Have objectives and roadmaps without general population knowledge and understanding of what they are, what they mean, and how we’re all getting there together? Different class of problem to solve.

Can you imagine a company that has no clear objectives, no roadmap, has experienced intermittent growth, change, and success without a plan and believes working hard and being busy is actually the plan?

Figure 1. The relationship between age, wisdom, plans, and goals.

Ask any adult their plans for a holiday. They will most likely tell you exactly when it starts, where they are going, how they will get there, what they plan to do with a timeline, when they start for home, when they will be back at work, and generally how much the whole endeavor will cost.

We need to see the same attention to detail incorporate strategic objective setting, roadmaps, and projects.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where – ” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“– so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge (pseudonym, Lewis Carroll). Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. London. Macmillan and Co.1865. Chapter 6.

A parting thought: whether we discuss children, young adults, professionals or corporations, the journey will require much of us – including money. Most people are happy to spend money on children, young adults, and ourselves in pursuit of goals. And most folks are happy to spend their company’s money as well.

Question: If this were your company and your money, how would you feel about the company and people spending your money without clear strategic objectives and a roadmap to get there?

Categories
Product Design & Development

Compressing Time-to-Value Requires Understanding What’s Valuable

The definition of value is subjective. Measuring expenditures is objective. If you ask someone in your company or team to define value, what do you think they will say? Will they discuss financials? Will they discuss projects, software releases or widgets created? Do you or your team define value to a customer by counting things?

As a quick exercise, define the value of your pants; not in terms of money, but in terms of value to you. Simply put, can you measure the value of your pants? Simpler yet, define the word itself – value. Like choosing wine, art, and music, defining value is subjective to whoever is shopping.

In business, we use cost accounting to count things. Ironically, cost accounting does not define value for a customer, nor does it delight a customer. It simply counts things.

When we use cost accounting to measure, we’re being fiscally responsible. However, the focus on the cost of things leads companies, teams, and individuals to perceive that cost of acquisition, cost of ownership and return on investment math defines value. While the company that sold you pants can measure their investment throughout the entire supply chain down to the point of sale, that math doesn’t define how you value pants, their brand or company. Were you able to measure the value of your pants? What would make you purchase a second pair of those pants?

Taking software projects and breaking them down into people, time, and cost helps us count things. In order to deliver product and service solutions to customers, we count things. Does that seem weird? Does it seem weird we can count all of the things in a project, feel good about ourselves, and still have no idea what the customer actually values?

Does knowing the cost of all the things in a software delivery chain mean we know when we’ve provided value to the customer? Unfortunately, it does not. It only suggests we know how to count.

If we can objectively count money, but we cannot easily measure a customer’s perceived value of things, as business and technology leaders and team members, how do we increase the probability of making first-time and recurring sales? Most of us are in business to make a living. Making a living requires money, which requires sales. If we don’t know what a customer values, how do we make sales?

“What!?” you say to me. “I’m not a sales, advertising or marketing person. That’s their job to do that rubbish. I just deliver stuff.” I’m not a marketing, advertising or sales expert either. However for those who are, as a technology leader I can help them do their jobs better by providing shorter time to revenue windows which helps them discover shorter time to value windows for both the company and the customer.

In other words, marketing, advertising, and salespeople need options every moment of every day to adapt to varying customer scenarios, gain market-share, crush competitors and make money to pay our salaries and business expenses. And they need them now, not when the business and/or technical teams can get to it.

What is the time between having an idea and delivering the idea in order to delight a customer and generate revenue?

In your company, is the flow of a product solution from beginning to end smooth like fresh ice on a hockey rink and as fast as a hockey puck? Or is it more comparable to the starts and stops of a muddy, variably pothole laden road? Figuring out time-to-revenue and time-to-value factors depends on understanding how product solutions flow through your company.

If you build software solutions and/or run software operations for a living, what do you think about the following questions?

  • Why are there so many steps to get from idea on a napkin to implementation?
  • Why are there so many tools in the delivery chain?
  • Why does it take so long to find out if we broke something that worked yesterday?
  • Why can’t we know whether the product meets company standards all of the time?
  • Why do we test so late in the process potentially delaying our project?
  • Why can’t we know if we’re compliant with industry regulations every time we build software, every day of every week instead of during third-party audits performed quarterly and annually in arrears?
  • Why can’t we deliver small portions of the larger solution that can be marketed, advertised and sold along the way instead of waiting for everything to be finished before we can even begin advertising, selling and making money?
  • Why can’t we find a way to deliver at the highest quality and highest velocities at the same time? Why are they treated as mutually exclusive?
  • Is information security and performance really something I have to kick down the road until later?
  • Why does it seem like our projects are black boxes of magic until the very end?

Consider this: Sales people are expected to provide verifiable value that is daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually measured in qualified leads, follow-ups, sales and revenue with non-negotiable baseline margins, but people who build software products take as long as they take and spend as much as they spend?

If you're responsible for delivering solutions that enable customer delight resulting from sales, marketing and advertising successes, the distance between having an idea and realizing the ability to make money with said idea is called – time to revenue. 

The distance between having a product and knowing what product the customer actually wants to buy is called – time to value.

Question: Organizationally and operationally, what do you need to change in order to realize shorter and more frequent time-to-value discoveries?

If you’d like help figuring out how to compress the time it takes to get from an idea to making money while also including security, performance, quality and reliability from the beginning (instead of later), we’d like to help. Or if you’d like help determining how to more quickly and frequently discover, rediscover and provide recurring value for your customers, the teams at Trility Consulting know how to help you get from where you are to where you’d like to go.

We evaluate your business goals and current state of operations. Then we work with you to implement solutions which help you get there. We use 100% software-defined, continuous delivery behaviors including continuous test-driven development, continuous inspection, continuous compliance, continuous vulnerability assessments, continuous penetration testing, software-defined infrastructure, serverless architectures, secure enterprise-class cloud ecosystems and more. This is simply what we do and how we live even for our own projects – and we’ve been doing it for quite awhile.

We’ll help you discover what time to value looks like in your team and operation. And your customers will thank you for it.

Categories
News

ShowPal Launches Another Product

ShowPal, a Des Moines, Iowa based start-up founded by Chad Torstenson, recently launched its next product which enables showing a home without an agent or homeowner present.

Adding to the existing Property IQ product, ShowPal now provides the additional abilities to list, show, buy and sell your home without an agent should you choose to do so. And if you decide a bit of help along the way would be handy, ShowPal will provide the additional service of a broker!

The ability to perform autonomous home showings is the next in a series of products and services planned by ShowPal designed to make the process of selling, showing and buying properties safer, easier and cheaper for everyone involved.  To custom build these products and services, ShowPal engaged Trility, to help design, build and deliver their cloud and on-premises based software solutions. 

Trility Consulting focuses on helping companies adopt, build and operate in secure enterprise cloud ecosystems so companies can focus on serving customers.

Visit ShowPal’s site or follow on Twitter and Facebook.

Categories
News

Nick Cardamon joins Trility Consulting

Trility Consulting is happy to announce that Nick Cardamon has agreed to join the organization as a Senior Account Manager responsible for client relationship management!

Nick comes to us with a long history of managing relationships and projects with other companies including his own. And in our interactions with him through time and different situations, we knew we wanted to work him!

Nick is involved with acquiring new clients, projects and teams, as well as, staying involved with existing clients to ensure Trility Consulting is consistently performing at and above commitment in each and every relationship.

Our entire leadership team is always available to serve our present and future customers. And with the addition of Nick Cardamon our team is a bit larger and more capable to bring value to you and your organization.

Welcome Nick Cardamon to Trility Consulting!

Categories
News

Eric Gerling joins Trility Consulting as CTO!

Trility Consulting is happy to announce that Eric Gerling has agreed to become the Chief Technology Officer for the organization!

Eric has been acting in the capacity of Chief Cloud Product Architect, Principal DevOps Engineer and Principal Software Engineer helping our Fortune 500 and SMB customers determine how to adopt and evolve into predictable, repeatable, secure enterprise cloud architectures, platforms, and operations.

Eric is typically one of the first people working with customers to help determine what problems or goals they seek to address, provide multiple options to meet those needs and then be part of the leadership team that implements the solution path alongside the customer.

While continuing to work in the aforementioned capacities, in his new role Eric will also spend time exploring business growth opportunities for Trility Consulting, consult with Trility Consulting’s partner company, IronBench, as well as, work to ensure that business and technology solutions provided by Trility Consulting are consistent with today’s and tomorrow’s industry best practices.

Categories
News

Trility Partners with Amazon Web Services

As a result of the experience gained while helping start-ups, SMBs and Fortune 500 and 100 companies adopt and operationalize AWS, Trility Consulting is proud to announce its official partnership status with Amazon Web Services.

Trility Consulting is a Des Moines, Iowa based people-first, full-stack solutions company built to help our customers and partners meet and beat their goals. Our efforts include cloud adoption, migration, implementation and evolution to multi-level continuous cybersecurity solutions, and full-spectrum application and systems development.  

Our focus is understanding your needs, providing you multiple solution paths and implementing the most valuable, mutually agreeable solutions that enable you the greatest flexibility to change as your goals change.

We’re available to help you define and refine opportunities, discover solution options and directions, coach, collaborate, lead, develop and deliver on your needs now.  If you’re considering cloud adoption or migration, wondering how cloud changes cyber-security for you, or want to build and evolve software solutions and operations in the cloud, get in touch with us.

APN Consulting Partners are professional services firms that help customers design, architect, build, migrate, and manage their workloads and applications on AWS. Consulting Partners include System Integrators, Strategic Consultancies, Agencies, Managed Service Providers, and Value-Added Resellers.

Categories
News

Trility Consulting and IronBench Partnership

Trility Consulting now offers IronBench’s cybersecurity suite of products and offers custom builds.

IronBench of Des Moines, Iowa, launched in January 2017, is a product company focused on cloud adoption, cloud operations, and cloud-focused information security and regulatory compliance behaviors.

Product Offerings

IronBench Cloud Config is designed to help companies securely adopt and evolve cloud ecosystems.

IronBench Compliance Navigator helps understand organizational regulatory and compliance status in relation to pertinent industry standards.

Trility Consulting, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, is a professional services company focused on discovering what goals customers would like to achieve and then helping them get there through lean, continuous delivery behaviors.

Contact Trility Consulting or IronBench if you’d like to discuss opportunities together!

Categories
News

The Great Experiment

Today we celebrate the July 4th, 1776 birth of a nation – the 241st birthday of the United States.

Every year we celebrate the independence of this nation from all other nations and peoples. And because there are so many of us who are all so very different, we tend to celebrate the independence of this nation, and our individual autonomy, in many different ways including with food, fireworks, friends, family, heritage, outdoor recreation, sports and the arts.

Independence Day is also a time for us to remember those who came before us, those who paved the way for our today, as well as and in particular, those who paid the ultimate price giving their lives for this country. People who chose to do what was necessary at the time so that generations of people would benefit well into the future.

There is good reason for some historical figures, then and now, to refer to the United States as a “grand experiment.” What an experiment to watch generations of people, all with varying histories and perspectives, come together and fight to forge a nation based upon a singular idea – the freedom of and right to self-governance.

We are here today because of an idea. We are here today because people, generation after generation, choose to join together to define, implement, vigilantly defend and evolve an idea.

How difficult it must have been to form an idea and take a stand all those years ago. How difficult it has been to protect and evolve that idea every day, month and year since. How difficult it will continue to be for us today and the generations that follow.

All for an idea for which I am grateful to benefit. All for an idea for which I am grateful to contribute.

All for an idea.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Preamble to the Declaration of Independence